Serves 4 – 6

This simple, rich soup goes together really fast and can use your favorite green vegetable. Candidates, either fresh or frozen, could include peas, chopped vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, spinach, asparagus, chard, kale or romaine lettuce. Whatever you use just don’t overcook the vegetable. You want it still to be a delicious green color. You could make this a one-dish meal by adding some cooked shrimp, smoked chicken or roasted mushrooms.

4 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 cups chopped onion or leeks including some of the green tops
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
1-1/2 pounds green vegetable of choice.
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1-1/4 cups crème fraiche or heavy cream
3 tablespoons dry sherry or to taste (optional)
Drops of fresh lemon or lime juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons chopped basil, mint or cilantro or a combination

Add the butter to a heavy bottomed, deep saucepan and melt over moderate heat. Add the onions, celery and fennel and cook slowly for 15 minutes or so until the vegetables are tender but not browned. (This slow cooking is known as “sweating!”). Add the green vegetable of choice along with the stock and simmer until tender but still attractively green.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender or blender. Strain through a medium strainer if desired and return to pan. Stir in the cream and sherry and season to your taste with lemon, salt and pepper. Ladle into bowl and top with the chopped basil or other herbs.